CARLSBAD — Merchants in downtown Carlsbad asked each other, “Did you feel that?” Wednesday afternoon after what was believed to be an earthquake that shook parts of southern New Mexico.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) reported a magnitude 5.3 earthquake centered in Toyah, Texas, just across the Texas-New Mexico border.
The earthquake was reportedly felt as far west as Las Cruces and as far north as Alamogordo.
Eddy County Emergency Medical Services chief Jennifer Armendariz said as of 2:55 p.m. no problems or damage had been reported, including power outages
Outside Treasured Moments, a downtown Carlsbad store on Canyon Street, owner Catherine Shelton said she was hanging up Christmas lights when her ladder and storefront began to shake.
“Everything started shaking and rattling,” she said. “I thought they might be doing some heavy construction work.”
She said she felt the tremor for about 30 seconds, quickly climbed down from her ladder and ran outside to see if anyone else felt it.
Others from local businesses were on the streets to check on each other after the earthquake, Shelton said.
She retired from the Carlsbad Police Department dispatch office, where she said she had taken many calls over the years about alleged earthquakes but had never experienced one herself.
“Everyone came out to confirm if we felt it,” she said. “They asked me if I was okay. I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never felt it before.”
Clarissa Mendoza, an assistant manager at Bennie’s Western Wear alongside Shelton, lived in Carlsbad for 15 years before she felt an earthquake.
It happened when she put up a poster in the store.
She said she had heard about it recently, but Wednesday’s incident was the first Mendoza felt about himself.
“The windows were shaking and everything,” she said. “I have never really experienced an earthquake before. It was kind of scary.”
Further down the road at Cone Jewelers, shop assistant Gwen Gadbury said she and her colleagues were shocked to see their clocks rattling on the walls, along with 12-foot trees in front of the store front.
“I’m the one who freaked out,” she said. “Everything rattled. It’s crazy. Definitely a big shock.”
Another shop assistant, Yesenia Mejia, said she was “shocked” and saw people stop in their cars as the earthquake continued.
“I was scared,” she said. “It was definitely adrenaline.”
This is an evolving story and will be updated.
Series of earthquakes reported over a three-day period along the Texas-New Mexico border
Six earthquakes were reported in Mentone, Texas on November 15, ranging from 1.9 to 2.3 on the Richter scaler.
And a day earlier, on November 14, two were reported in the same area measuring 2.1 and 2.4.
Follow Jessica Onsurez on Twitter at @JussGREAt and Adrian Hedden at @AdrianHedden.